Wed, Aug 16, 2006 - Page 1 News List

Tsai named new MOTC minister

PROMOTION Tsai Duei, a vice minister, will take over the Ministry of Transportation and Communications from Kuo Yao-chi, who quit

By Shelley Shan and Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Vice Minister of Transportation and Communications Tsai Duei (蔡堆) will take over at the helm of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC), the Cabinet announced yesterday.

Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) had previously tried to persuade Minister of Transportation and Communications Kuo Yao-chi (郭瑤琪) to stay on in her post after she announced her resignation on Aug 7.

Su at the time said that he would not consider or talk to any potential candidates for the position until Kuo returned from her vacation yesterday.

Su, however, appeared to have broken his promise when the press late yesterday learned that he had spoken with Tsai on Monday afternoon.

After the meeting with the premier, Tsai "announced" his own promotion late on Monday night, but the Cabinet did not confirm the news until 2:30pm yesterday.

Cabinet Spokesman Cheng Wen-tsang (鄭文燦) tried to avoid the question when asked why the premier would do such a thing and whether Kuo's resignation had already been approved.

"We did everything following administrative orders," Cheng said.

Ethics questions

Cheng tried to avoid any further questions by leaving the press room quickly after members of the media inquired whether Tsai had broken ethical standards by announcing his own promotion before the promotion had been officially confirmed by his superiors.

Tsai held a press conference later in the evening, saying that he would face the challenges of the position with courage and follow the administration's policies fully.

He also said his first priority as the minister was to boost the morale of the ministry and he would be open to any criticism from the press and the public.

"I will take criticism as an opportunity to be educated," he said.

Tsai reiterated that the controversy surrounding the highway electronic toll collection (ETC) system would be settled in a fair manner, meaning every decision will abide by the verdict handed down by the Supreme Administrative Court.

He noted that he would do the best he can to make sure the high-speed railway becomes operational by the end of October -- a promise that was made during Kuo's reign.

Tsai said he needed time to consider potential candidates for the position of vice minister.

When asked about the resignation of Yang Hsi-an (楊錫安), director of the Taiwan Area National Expressway Bureau who only assumed the post a month ago, Tsai said he believed that Yang would reconsider the whole situation carefully as everything now begins from zero.

Tsai tendered his resignation shortly after Kuo resigned last week, adding that it was customary for administrative officers to resign along with their supervisors.

`Evil deeds'

However, Tsai said in later comments that he was willing to stay if God thought that he could atone for the evil deeds he committed in his previous life by staying in the same position.

A 59-year-old Taichung native with a doctoral degree in electrical engineering from National Taiwan University, the new minister has held several different positions within the ministry over the last 36 years.

Some of his more significant experience include being MOTC vice minister, vice chairman of the Public Construction Commission, director-general of the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) and director-general of the Directorate General of Telecommunications (DGT).

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